Transforming Trees Into Original Art

Andrew has created several owls, but none bigger than this one!

Giving trees a new life…  sculptor Andrew Frost talks to Dawn Anderson about his unique way of creating art from discarded trees.

ON a gloriously sunny day in May, I found myself at Crich Tramway Village to interview Andrew Frost, the tree and wood sculptor who is based there.  It had seemed an odd location for a tree sculptor; I have to admit that it had been years since I had visited the village and, even then, it had been at night for a Halloween event.

Andrew Frost with a throne he has carved.
Andrew Frost with a throne he has carved.

Upon arrival at the ticket office, I was advised to follow the woodland trail and I would find him.  It began to make sense. I duly followed the signs for the woodland trail and wound my way up the hill away from the tram tracks. Through the woods, I passed play areas and picnic tables, with obvious examples of Andrew’s work at the side of the path. Even in daylight, it gave it a really Harry Potter-esque feel as I wandered past all sorts of carvings, including a strange sign pointing ‘this way and that way’; a huge carved sofa, a grandfather clock; and various other smaller carvings of owls, snails and even a walrus.  

I eventually found Andrew, surrounded by trees and logs and snowed in by wood shavings. His outdoor ‘workshop’ is a gated area, among the trees to the rear of a picnic area. Andrew welcomed me inside and dusted off a chair so that we could have a chat about his work, while his dog Riley snoozed in his van. 

Andrew uses chainsaws to transform abandoned trees into original works of art, ranging from tiny pieces like an owl, to huge transformations such as the enormous leafy figure that he created in Leek. He manages to create something beautiful from trees that are storm damaged or abandoned wood, recycling it in a unique way.

 “I’ve been based in Crich for over 20 years,” he tells me, “creating carvings for the tramway museum and ensuring that the ones that are here are repaired if necessary.”

Born and bred in Wirksworth, Andrew didn’t come from a family of artisans. 

“Art was the only thing I was any good at!” he laughs.  He did an Art and Design course at Chesterfield College followed by a Fine Art degree, but his love of nature led to him becoming a countryside ranger and forester (something that he had initially done during the college holidays). 

It was here that his work in the forests and his love of art combined and he began his chainsaw carvings. It felt like the perfect integration of his environmental experience with his creativity. Amazingly, most of his sculptures are carved solely with a chainsaw. 

He began to do this part time in 1998 and was able to do it full time in 2000.  It was a relatively new thing here when he began, although it was popular in the United States, where carving competitions were commonplace. 

“It is far more popular here now, but thankfully I am still busy.” It is a really physically demanding skill, as I realise when he offers me the opportunity to pick up one of the chainsaws and I can barely lift it off the ground. Andrew, now in his fifties, is mindful of the strength needed to do this work, but is not giving up any time soon.

He usually works to commission, but has some freedom over the end product. He values the input of local people in his sculpture and likes to look at the immediate environment and, if appropriate, the history of the area. The usual process is to create a drawing which is agreed with the client, and then he goes from there.  

His works are diverse in scale and subject, He has recently been asked to work on a huge cedar tree in Burton on Trent that will need a crane and scaffolding for him to work on it. 

Sometimes he does little garden pieces that he puts up for sale outside his gate which are always snapped up. 

He admits he would like to do more mystical stuff if he had the time such as dragons. At Crich, examples of his work include a giant tortoise, trolls, wizards, a massive domino set (so good that people keep stealing the pieces for keepsakes), trolls and even a wooden drum kit. His interactive pieces make it a dream for children. 

Andrew regularly does demonstrations at events and takes part in carving competitions (less so now as he is busy with commissions). He can be found at the Bakewell Country Festival on July 14 doing a demonstration, which should be well worth  watching. Meanwhile, I highly recommend visiting him at Crich to see his magical works in the beautiful surroundings of the Tramway Village. 

Editor’s note: Check out more of Andrew’s work at and at